Spotlight on Linux: Linux Mint 9
Linux Mint is another distribution that seems designed for new users, although many seasoned users find it as handy as anyone. Linux Mint takes Ubuntu and makes it usable by adding drivers and codecs and adjusting the default application stack for more mainstream appeal. In addition, they customize the appearance for a more universal demographic. Mint isn't just a revamped Ubuntu. Its developers actually write tools and utilities to increase user-friendliness. Best of all, it's one of the few distros that can truly be considered "install and go." All these factors are surely why Mint has soared into the top 3 of Distrowatch's Page Hit Rankings.
The installer is a customized version of the Ubuntu Ubiquity installer which walks the user through a simple and easy installation. Mint also shares Ubuntu's Restricted Driver tool that will install proprietary firmware for certain hardware, such as video cards and wireless Ethernet chips. Many familiar GNOME elements are present as well such as the Control Center and panel applet browser. But what sets one distribution apart from the others is the original work, and Linux Mint has done theirs.
The first thing one is likely to notice is Mint's unique menu. It's similar to SUSE's Slab menu by offering access to all entries from main interface. Favorites can be set up for easier access to some and computer mainstays are always present. Perhaps the best feature is the filter or search. Sure it will isolate the desired application from other entries, but if not present on the system the option to install will be offered.
Mint comes with two distinct package managers. One is the widely used Synaptic front-end to APT set up with Mint and Ubuntu repositories, but the other is Mint's own. It sports a clean interface, easier to decipher categories, detailed descriptions with screenshots, and user ratings. If the application being explored is already installed, the action button becomes Remove. It's quite impressive in its simplicity.
Mint has several smaller specialized tools too. One that might be of particular interest is mintBackup, which as it sounds is a backup and restore utility. Again, like the Software Manager, the interface is uncluttered and clean but includes handy features. mintUpdate is another. As its name implies, it lists and will update packages as security and bug fixes become available. In addition, it lists a safety level for each update corresponding to the level of testing done on Mint by developers. The update manager also comes with a panel applet that alerts the user of any available updates.
The best thing about Linux Mint is its out of the box capabilities. Nothing says ease-of-use like having browser and multimedia plugins and codecs already included and ready to use. Nothing is appreciated more either, by a lot of users. There is a large community of friendly and helpful users surrounding the Mint project, so be sure to drop by the forums. This version comes with GNOME 2.30, but other desktop versions follow soon after initial release. Any way you look at it, Linux Mint is one of the best distributions available today from any project, no matter the size.
Susan Linton is a Linux writer and the owner of tuxmachines.org.
|PostgreSQL, the NoSQL Database||Jan 29, 2015|
|HPC Cluster Grant Accepting Applications!||Jan 28, 2015|
|Sharing Admin Privileges for Many Hosts Securely||Jan 28, 2015|
|Red Hat Enterprise Linux 7.1 beta available on IBM Power Platform||Jan 23, 2015|
|Designing with Linux||Jan 22, 2015|
|Wondershaper—QOS in a Pinch||Jan 21, 2015|
- PostgreSQL, the NoSQL Database
- Sharing Admin Privileges for Many Hosts Securely
- HPC Cluster Grant Accepting Applications!
- Designing with Linux
- Wondershaper—QOS in a Pinch
- January 2015 Issue of Linux Journal: Security
- Internet of Things Blows Away CES, and it May Be Hunting for YOU Next
- Ideal Backups with zbackup
- Red Hat Enterprise Linux 7.1 beta available on IBM Power Platform
- Slow System? iotop Is Your Friend
Editorial Advisory Panel
Thank you to our 2014 Editorial Advisors!
- Jeff Parent
- Brad Baillio
- Nick Baronian
- Steve Case
- Chadalavada Kalyana
- Caleb Cullen
- Keir Davis
- Michael Eager
- Nick Faltys
- Dennis Frey
- Philip Jacob
- Jay Kruizenga
- Steve Marquez
- Dave McAllister
- Craig Oda
- Mike Roberts
- Chris Stark
- Patrick Swartz
- David Lynch
- Alicia Gibb
- Thomas Quinlan
- Carson McDonald
- Kristen Shoemaker
- Charnell Luchich
- James Walker
- Victor Gregorio
- Hari Boukis
- Brian Conner
- David Lane